Tough Love for New Business Owners: You Can Build it, But They May Not Come

Tough Love for New Business Owners: You Can Build it, But They May Not Come

Tough Love for New Business Owners: You Can Build it, But They May Not Come

Presumably, if you're reading this article you've decided to start your own business — or you're strongly considering it — either way, congratulations! Owning your own business can be one of the most satisfying and rewarding projects you ever take on, if you do it right. We'll leave it to your mom to tell you what a unique and special snowflake you are, because even if that's true, it won't get you ahead in business. To succeed you have to have a solid business plan, desirable product or service, fantastic work ethic and some common sense. 

For a lot of entrepreneurs, the common sense part is the hardest part of the equations — so much energy is being expended on the creative process and big picture ideas, that some of the most crucial details can get lost in the shuffle. We're here to help with some tough love advice and common sense tips for your new business venture.

Receipts Matter

Very few people actually catalog all of their personal expenditures, let alone saving all of their receipts and filing them in an organized manner. Flagrant disregard for budgeting and expenditure tracking might work for you in college, but it won't fly in your business life. For that matter, don't you dare mix your personal and your business finances. Not only are you making a heck of a lot of work for yourself and your accountant come tax time, but you're also risking an IRS audit.

Want a simple solution? Get an American Express card (for your business. (You can go with another provider, obviously, but only if they have better cardholder benefits and customer service.) Use your business charge or credit card for all of your point of sale purchases and online purchases. You'll be able to track your expenditures through your statements, you don't have to reconcile petty cash and your life will be far simpler. Plus, depending on the card you choose you can get benefits like early payment discounts, reward points, roadside assistance and travel perks. Not to mention they do champion small businesses with that whole Small Business Saturday campaign.

If it's Good Enough for Government Work...

...it's not good enough for you. Ever work with the government? We're not trying to get all political and anarchist here, but try applying for a construction permit in a timely manner or going to the DMV. Get our point? Government institutions exist, for the most part, outside of the realm of capitalism. The quality of service at the DMV doesn't matter because they have a monopoly on government issued permits and other services you need. Your customers will have choices. You have to provide both a product or service they want or need AND an experience that makes them want to come back for more.

Want them to recommend you to friends, family and all of their followers on Twitter? Go beyond avoiding a bad impression and aim for greatness. That means being polite, responding to inquiries in a timely manner, keeping clean facilities and restrooms. Don't hard sell customers to the point where they feel pressured to buy. We know you have to pay the rent, and they know it, but a customer should never feel like your business is riding on their shoulders.

Love What You Do

If you don't care about what you do, it'll show. Genuine enthusiasm gives off a glow that customers will respond to. Think about walking through a mall littered with kiosks. There's nothing more off-putting than un-enthused minimum-wage workers trying to pitch cell phone plans, hair straighteners or lotions from mystic lands. If you're excited about what you have to offer it will be contagious.

Here's to success! Have any tips you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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